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afford very goodharbors. There are forty-eight fresh-water lochs on the
are the remains of eight dnns, and the foundations of three religious houses,
island, supposed to cover about two hundred and twenty-seven acres.
and also three upright stones near the south-western extremity ofthe island. The rock is gneiss, approaching to granite and hornblende slate. On the east side of the south-west part is Loch Breachacha, near the head of which is Breachacha castle, the seat of the MacLeans of Coll. This old castle is still almost entire. The castle is supposed to have been built by the lords of the Isles, but doubtless antedates their period. The
earliest description of it known to me is that contained in an oflicial document written between 1577 and 1595: “The laird of Collow (Coll) hes ane castell callit Brekauche, quhilk is ane great strenth be reason of the situation thairof
verie neir to the sea, quhilk defendis the half thairof, and hes three walls about the rest of the castell and thairof biggit with lyme and stane, with sundrie gude devices for defending of the tower. Ane uther wall about that, within the quhilk schippis and boittis are drawin and salvit. And the third and the uttermost wall of tymber and earth, within the quhilk the haill gudes of the cuntrie are keipit in tyme of troublis or weiris."* The castle has long been deserted, and no pains are taken for its preservation. The height is about eighty feet, but there is no stairway whereby the summit may be reached.
I. John Garbh, First MacLean of Coll.
The fourth branch of the Duard family is that of Coll, descended from John Garbh, third son of Lachlan Bronnach, seventh chief of MacLean, and second son of the second marriage by Fionnaghal, daughter of MacLeod of Harris. He was called John Garbh from his gigantic stature and great strength. He was also called John Teomachd, from his cunning and craft. As already narrated, he received from the lord of the Isles a right to twenty pound land in the isle of Coll, and eighteen merk land in Quinish, in Mull; and from Allan Ruarrie, laird of Clanranald, the six merk land of Rum. Alexander, third lord of the Isles, bestowed upon him the twenty pound land of Lochiel, in Lochaber,f and also the six merk land in Drimnin and Achalennon, in Morvern. John Garbh lived feared by his enemies and respected by his friends. He married Isabella, daughter of Fraser of Lovat, predecessor of lord Lovat. He was succeeded in his estates by his only son,
II. John Abrach, Second MacLean of Coll.
John received the name Abrach on account of his living most of the time on his possessions of the twenty pound land of Lochiel in Lochaber, in defense of which he and a few of his friends were killed in an onset at Blar ni core, near Corpuck, by Cameron of Lochiel and his people, who at that time seized upon and burnt all of Coll's charters to those lands. John Abrach was married to Jannet, daughter of Ewen, fifth MacLean of Urquhart, by whom he had two sons, John and Hector, who were very young at the time their father was killed. The MacMhuloinighs (a tribe of the Camerons noted for their power and fierceness), who fought bravely for Coll at the battle of Blar ni core, took care of the two children and their mother, and conveyed them safely to the isle of Coll; for which good service there was ever after a reciprocal friendship between the two families, and in token of this amity it was cut in stone over the gate of Breachacha castle, that any MacMhuloinigh was welcome there, and should be rescued and protected against all enemies. From John, the MacLeans of Coll adopted the patronymic of Maclan Abrach.
* Skene's Celtic Scotland, Vol. III., p. 436. t Gregory's Western Highlands, p. 71.
III. John, Third MacLean of Coll,
Appears to have been in possession of the estate in 1493. On February 27,1499, he received a respite.* King James V. granted him a charter for the twenty pound land of Lochiel and the seven mark land of Drimnin and Achalennan in Morvern, confirming and ratifying a former charter granted to his grandfather, John Garb, by James II., and makes mention that the original rights to the lands of Lochiel, etc., were burned by the Caroerons. This charter, dated December 1, 1528, is witnessed by the archbishop of Glasgow, the bishop of Dunkeld, and the bishop of Aberdeen. In May, 1530, John was one of the nine principal islanders who sent Hector, lord of Duard, to offer submission to the king,f and in 1545 was one of the lairds who consented to a treaty with the English king. There is no account of the marriage of John, or tradition that he ever had a son, yet the official records contain a precept for a charter to John MacLean, younger of Coll, son and heir apparent of John MacLean of Coll, of the lands of Coll, etc. It is dated December 25, 1542.J It is probable that he was married, and father and son died about the same time. John was succeeded in his estates by his brother,
IV. Hector, Fourth MacLean of Coll.
Hector made greater progress in letters than any other man in the country in which he lived during that period. He understood Latin well, and devoted much of his time to the writing of poetry, in both Latin and Gaelic, fragments of which are still preserved. These compositions testify that he was devout. On account of his literary character he was called Cleireach beag, or little clerk. That he was well adapted for an emergency is illustrated in the art he exhibited in appeasing the wrath of Ailean nan Sop. The official records show a "gift to Hector McClane, brother and heir of the deceased John McClane of Coll of the non-entry of Coll, 24 April, 1558." || June 28, 1559, is recorded a precept for charter to Hector, son and heir apparent of Hector MacLean of Coll, of the lands of Coll, on resignation by the father.§ In 1561 a feud broke out between the families of Duard and Coll, on account of the former insisting on the latter following him in all his private quarrels, like the other gentlemen of the clan. Coll declined on account that he held his lands direct from the crown. The Coll family was brought to the very brink of ruin. Hector was first married to Move, daughter
* Registrum Secreti Sigllli, Vol. I., fol. 115. t Gregory's Western Highlands. I Reg. Sec. Sig., Vol. XVI., fol. 57. || Ibid, Vol. XXIX., fol. 28. ilbid., fol. 79.
of Alister Mac-Ian-Chathanaich MacDonald of Islay, by whom he had one son, called Hector Roy, and two daughters: Margaret, married to John Dubh, predecessor of the MacLeans of Kinlochaline, and Jannet, married to John Garbh, son of above John Dubh. Hector was married a second time, to Finovola, daughter of Godfrey MacAllister of Loup, by whom he had two sons: Allan, founder of the family of Achanasaul, and John, founder of the house of Grisipoll, both of which are now extinct. He was succeeded by his eldest son,
V. Hector Roy, Fifth MacLean of Coll,
Who married Marian, daughter of Hector Oig, chief of Duard. Hector Roy died young, and had but one issue, his son and successor,
VI. Lachlan, Sixth MacLean of Coll.
This laird was quite a prominent figure in his day. During Lachlan's minority Nial Mor acted as his guardian. At this time Sir Lachlan Mor renewed the old quarrel with Coll, in order to compel obedience to his chiefship. The invaders were met by Niall M6r, but on his way to the encounter found that the flag had been forgotten. After some annoyance an old warrior named Domhnall Mugach, seeing the perplexity of his leader, stepped forward, took off his bonnet, and pointing to his bald head exclaimed: "This will do for our standard, and I promise it will not go back a foot till night." The two parties met at Struthan nan Ceann, at Totaranald, where the invaders were defeated with great slaughter. Shortly after, Sir Lachlan M6r sent a more numerous force and subjugated the island. Niall M6r fled with Sir Lachlan's men in pursuit, and overtook him at Clachan Dubh, in northern Mull, where they slew him. Niall M6r is supposed to have been a son of Hector, fourth laird of Coll. He was a man of great strength and stature, and a brave, disinterested man. One of the first acts of Lachlan was to free his lands from the hands of Sir Lachlan M6r MacLean, who had taken possession of them during his minority. He petitioned to the privy council for redress, which granted his prayer. In this bill of complaint * it is stated that his possessions consisted of the twenty pound land of Coll, twelve pound land of Quinish, four pound land of Rum, four pound land of Achalennan, and Drimnin, all of which belonged to his father. This record is dated December 23, 1596. In 1601 he was one of the principal parties who effected a reconciliation between the MacDonalds and MacLeans of Skye. In 1609 he was one of the chiefs who met the bishop of the Isles at Iona, when the
• Register Fray Council, Vol. V., p. 304.
famous statutes of Icolmkill were enacted. He was one of the many chiefs summoned, in 1615, to defend the islands against the inroads of Sir James MacDonald, then in rebellion. He appeared before the privy council in 1616, which bound him to exhibit annually one of his principal kinsmen; that he should reside at his castle of Breachacha, and that he should not keep more than one tun of wine. He also made his personal appearance in the following year. In 1622 the council, along with others, bound him to certain acts which were deemed necessary for the welfare of the Isles, among which he should build and repair the parish kirk.* In the report of 1634, relative to the fisheries and other matters, he is mentioned as one of the principal landlords of the Isles.f He received a charter from the bishop of the Isles of the six mark land of the Isle of Muck, which formerly was possessed by the MacIans of Ardnamurchan, and had remained as tenants of the bishop. These people not only kept possession of the land, but became violent, and among other things murdered Lachlan's natural son, called Ian Gauld. This young man had been given by his father a farm, called Mingary, in Mull, for his patrimony. He went to Ardnamurchan upon some private business, when a party of Maclans attacked the boat in landing, and killed Ian, or John, and with great difficulty his servants carried off the body, which had thirteen arrows through it. For this and other crimes Coll caused fourteen of the principal men to be apprehended at Ardmore in Mull, and sent them to Inverary, where most of them were put to death. For this they afterward sought revenge. It must be this Lachlan who converted his tenants from popery to prcsbyterianism. The story is well authenticated and doubtless true. When Coll became convinced of the truths of the reformed doctrines, he passed over into Mull, and converted his tenants, by meeting them when going to chapel, and driving them back into a barn where the presbyterian clergyman was to preach; and having used on this occasion a gold-headed cane, it passed into a saying that their religion was that of the Yellow-headed stick. This cane remained in the family until quite recently, when it either became lost or else purloined. While young, Lachlan was fourteen years in the laird of Maclntosh's house, and ever after the strictest friendship existed between the families. Rorie MacLeod of MacLeod committed to his keeping his two sons, Sir Rory and Sir Norman. He lived to a good old age, and was much regarded and respected by all his neighbors, who looked upon him as one of great prudence and bravery. He was married to Florence, daughter to the laird of Mac
• Collectanea tie Rebus Albanicis, p. 122. t Ibid., p. 109.